Sometimes we must fall forward to keep moving. Remain motionless—remain unyielding—and you are as good as dead. Death follows indecision, like a twisted shadow. Fall forward. Keep moving. Even if you must pick yourself up first.

This is a spoiler-free review which can also be viewed HERE.

A beloved Disney-tale fashioned into a whole new story by a wonderful, strong and well-known author? Set in feudal Japan, the original story of Mulan follows the way of young Mariko who desperately needs to find her own destiny in a world ruled by men. Raised with her only purpose to marry the son of the emperor, she finds herself between thieves and murderers after an ambush – just to discover dark secrets that force her to question everything she’s ever known.

I received this book as a part of my FairyLoot subscription box, but since it was already part of my wishlist I would have read it nonetheless. Sadly I haven’t read anything by Renee Ahdieh before but I heard so many good things about her. Considering that I love Disney-movies, I simply couldn’t resist this book. To be honest, I needed some time to read the book – partly because I didn’t want it to end, partly because I had so little time. But the story around Mariko was so intriguing I couldn’t delay the book further.

Mariko’s only purpose of marrying well to ensure her father’s social standing clashes with her brilliant mind and her skills in alchemy. While her twin-brother gets all the respect as a favoured samurai, Mariko is about to be married to the son of the emperor when her convey gets attacked. Surviving and despising the idea of marrying the prince she sets out to find the Clan responsible for the attack. Planning to infiltrate them and find out the reason for the raid. Finding her way into the ranks of the Black Clan she soon has to discover that the Clan isn’t quite following the bad reputation they gained and that her father – on the other hand – also isn’t what he seems.

The character development in Flame in the Mist is absolutely amazing. While I really loved Mariko as a strong female lead, I also fell in love with the members of the Black Clan. They were a good mixture of Robin Hood and the lost boys from Peter Pan and with all their quirks they just were wonderfully amazing. There were so many different characters present and they all were loveable. I won’t spoil your here but let me say that I loved Ōkami from the beginning and that he is my absolute favourite.

To be fair, there was the trope of romance – but it was the most wonderful kind. Slow burning and never too much under the aspect of enemies-to-lovers. It was so wonderful to read and the pairing that resulted from it was absolutely perfect even if I didn’t expect it. And I simply cannot wait for the second book to come out since I want to read more more more of it. My heart is so deeply invested in this romance and this is a pair I will always carry in my heart.

The writing of Renee Ahdieh is such a beautiful one with loads of imagination and fantasy behind it. Furthermore the setting of feudal Japan is one I never encountered before and even though I normally don’t read things from the Asian culture, this was simply a wonderful journey. I felt entertained inside this authenticity of a world and as said before I cannot wait to get back there. I’d recommend this book to everyone who likes the setting of Japan, the fantasy genre or readers who are looking for a strong female lead which is about to find her own way in a society that wasn’t meant for her.

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